We’ve been in the new place about 5 months now and it’s time to focus on the outside stuff now that most of the unpacking is done. We live in a neighborhood that requires architectural approval to paint your home and so we have begun the process of considering what color options are open to us as we address the condition of the outside of our home.
But before we can get to the painting part, it is important that we address the issues associated with the birch trees growing over the roof and clogging the gutters with leaves and twigs. We have already had the gutter issue addressed twice since we moved in and it hasn’t even been 6 months yet. And the branches that are rubbing against the roof could create serious problems downstream that would be expensive to fix. Aside from all of that, our neighbor has asked that we do something to alleviate the problems that he is starting to have with leaves from our trees also clogging his gutters. So, it is time to do something about pruning the trees.
Several weeks ago, when we were in Montana, we happened to meet a man on the top of a mountain who is from Indiana and owns a tree service company. What’s the chance that we would meet somebody from the very industry that we are needing? Well, today is the day that he came out and taught me more about trees than I could ever want to know. We discussed the health of each tree, fertilizer programs and how he intends to go about trimming and pruning each of our trees. He showed me where storm damage has hurt the growth of the trees and how there is so much dead wood in the centers of the trees that the sunlight can’t get through. This leads to dead spots and the way that trees are pruned can significantly impact how they will recover and grow.
In fact, I learned that if too much work is done to a tree at one time, it will actually hurt the overall health of the tree. While pruning stimulates growth, cutting in the wrong places can lead to disease and infestation of insects that will ultimately kill the tree. I learned more about this stuff in 30 minutes than I have ever heard in my life. And that brings us to the verse of the evening – from the Gospel of John, speaking of Jesus in 15:2, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
In other words, Jesus is the master pruner – knowing what branches to cut and how much to prune at any one time. I always thought of pruning as painful but I learned today that pruning is a really necessary part of maintenance and that the trees we own have never gone through the process. We were assured that by next spring we won’t be able to believe how much healthier and better looking the entire yard will be.
This led me to understand that even other plants benefit when correct pruning is done. I think that’s how it is with us. When we are pruned by Jesus, everybody around us benefits as well. While the thought may be scary to begin with, I can’t wait to see how the yard looks next year – and I can say the same thing about myself – how will I be improved by selective pruning at the hands of the master Himself? My encouragement this evening is that God wants to prune each one of us – not to punish us but to make us better and even more closely resembling the image of Christ. My prayer is that you will allow the God of the universe to prune you and maintain the right attitude in the process. It’s less scary than you might think. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…